The sun has disappeared for the sake of the darkness. An audience of eighty thousand people is whispering his name. His face appears on a multi-coloured wide-screen. Ten million dollars. That’s what’s in it for tonight’s final cup win. In a cave underground, there’s a sign saying Jockey’s room. Open the door to that room and twelve of the world’s best riders are getting dressed. “Good luck” someone calls to him and he nods as if they meant it. William Buick takes one last deep breath before entering the arena of the World Cup in Dubai. He is only 27 years old.
When he was four years old he already knew that he wanted to become a jockey. All of us others answered “policemen” or “football player” and those other jobs that normal kids would want. But to William it was clear. He wanted to move to England and he wanted to become a jockey. It’s an impressive fact, watching him today, knowing that he set his goals as a four-year old kid and that by the age of 27 he has achieved them all.
It’s a beautiful morning as we meet with William Buick at his rooftop in Dubai.
The view here is magnificent. Sky-scrapers and highways, sand beaches and smoke. Buick himself has arrived with a smile. He woke up early this morning, he says, and the first thought that hit him was that he wanted to get out and race. He’s got the eyes of a boy but the posture of a man. Clean cut hair and an admirable handshake. His clear and steady British accented voice consciously responds to each question with articulation.
He’s a crossover concept: masculine and sporty, yet intelligent.
“I’m very happy about where I am in life, William Buick says.”
“Living in Dubai is just a daily dose of inspiration. I still have the same friends as I did when I was a kid. And I keep in close contact with my family in Norway, so that when I go back home, things are just the same as they’ve always been.”
“To me there has never been a ‘what if I don’t succeed’-moment”
Today, much in this Norwegian- native rider’s life has changed from what it once was. William Buick is one of the world’s most famous jockeys. And as a rider for Team Godolphin, William is not only a sportsmen that people stop to talk to in the street but also an employee of his highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the ruler of Dubai. William’s life and career are therefore built upon an essential routine; to always progress, always on a constant journey towards new races, new cities, new goals, and new achievements.
“To me there has never been a ‘what if I don’t succeed’-moment, William Buick answers about the questions of what he would do if he wouldn’t have become a jockey.”
I haven’t even considered that. I’ve just focused on my ambitions and on ways to get there.
Martin and Andrew Buick, The Buick brothers.
“Our brother has always been very, very aware of what he wants and how to get it,” Andrew and Martin Buick, confirm. And that rare sense of focus William has is something that can be traced back to his childhood.
“The first time I met with William he was only ten years old, Hans Petter Eriksen at Øvrevoll Galopp remembers. He was extremely tiny for his age but I immediately noticed his extraordinary devotion. The trainers here thought that he was too small and that it would prevent him from a career later on. I think that’s why William went to England. And also that it’s a part of why he is where he is today, Hans Petter says.”
But despite William’s devotion as a jockey, it doesn’t mean that life for him has always been easy. As a teenager, he moved alone to England for his training. Here, he spent two years of teenage life staying in a hostel-room.
– And by this time William didn’t have a driver’s license, friend and jockey James Doyle remembers from the period where the two of them first met. – He couldn’t really go anywhere so I drove him to the track each morning.
“I was like any other young person, wanting to succeed and do everything in a hurry. I needed to learn patience,” William Buick tells today.
“William is a natural horseman that has a real passion for horse racing.
He is a very important part of Team Godolphin and a huge asset to the stable. Not only is he a talented rider on race day, he is a huge help at training in the mornings, where he rides a large number of our horses in exercise”
“Charlie Appleby, trainer of Team Godolphin.”
At the age of 18, William’s success was officially announced. In both 2007 and 2008 he was named “apprentice jockey of the year” at the Lester Award in England, followed by an impressive and above all intensive period of international progress, still going strong.
All his titles and achievements seem to come together as the result of two important qualities as a jockey; hard work and huge devotion, which everyone around him—from childhood friends to trainers, and from colleagues to his family—are willing to confirm.